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We frequently see the mundane glamorized poorly through odd reality television shows and amateur use of special effects. In her series of paintings Life Room-Blue Screen, Emily Scott applies similar tropes to her life study paintings, with special emphasis on the blue-screen effect.
From major Hollywood movies to amateur videos, the invention of “blue screen” (or green screen) transformed our ability to take individuals and place them within a context of our choosing, from flying in the sky to running from a boulder. Or, in Scott’s case, placing a nude male — casually leaning and calmly concentrating, as if unaware of his new location — in front of downtown’s Beauty Bar, in a work titled “The Get Back Beau.” In another work titled “Pink Flamingos” a full-figured woman lies in repose, her form transported to a meadow next to a pink trailer banked by a sunset. The tranquil yet loaded image provokes possible interpretations and suggests comical stereotypes.
In each piece, it seems the mischievous narrator is playing tricks on her characters. Rather like drawing a mustache on a copy of “Mona Lisa,” these antics profit off the somewhat cold, stiff qualities of the nude poses found in life painting classes. There’s the seated, nude female who’s been given a cat-woman mask prop and a back drop of a nighttime cityscape, titled with comic book phrase explosion, “Meow!” In “Equestrian Aquatica,” another female stares blankly ahead, astride a carousel seahorse — all while underwater. An adjacent male nude with large belly in “Killer” sits in front of a wall of cereal boxes, with the shot-off head of the Trix rabbit. It’s like a blending of art and identity theft: naked strangers highjacked, thrust into new environments, and staged to comical and confusing effect.
For centuries, the study of human figure renderings has been an intriguing pursuit for artists, with compositions frequently infused with narrative. In Rembrandt’s 16th century depiction of “Diana at the Bath,” the artist portrays a nude woman of ordinary physique as a goddess equipped with bow and quiver props; Scott’s “Meow!” catwoman could serve as an update to Diana. As such, Scott modernizes this traditional aesthetic, complete with 21st century media commentary. JENESSA KENWAY
Through July 28; Kleven Contemporary, 520 Fremont St., #186, 501-9093, www.klevencontemporary.tumblr.com.